0

Discover Philippines: The Five Best Outdoor Activities to Try in the Philippines

lionheartv

“Some people choose activities which give them pleasure, while others seek pleasure in every activity they perform.”-Sukant Ratnakar

 

A tropical country of all sorts, the Philippines is known and well-regarded to be a holiday destination for thalassophiles who wish to indulge their craving for the ocean and saltwater.

However, while this Southeast Asian country is mostly known (and loved) for its summer capitals, scenic beaches, and picturesque mountainsides, it is also a known destination for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies alike. With the country’s diverse landscape complemented by the dense and lush countryside, it is poised to become Southeast Asia’s next premier thrilling adventure destination. As a result, an influx of foreign travelers and tourists alike can be seen swarming in the country during the summer season. The Philippines plays host to a myriad of outdoor activities with each one promising a different kind of rush. Some would bring you over the edge, or allow you to conquer your fears. Regardless of what it is, each activity would give you a euphoric rush of adrenaline and excitement. With its wide range of activities, you are sure to find one that would cater to your fancy. From the physical activities suitable for kids and adults in the Sandbox Pampanga to jumping off cliffs to beds of water in Cebu, there is quite a lot for you to discover and experience.

Whether you are a meandering tourist looking for your next big adventure or a local who is seeking out new thrills or basically just someone who wishes to get out of their beds and their house, here are some of the outdoor activities in the Philippines you ought to try:

 

Mountaineering

If you are unafraid of heights and cliffs, then mountaineering is definitely an activity you have to try. The Philippines has an abundance of mountain ranges which you can explore and discover. Satisfy your climbing cravings or choose to conquer your fear of heights and deadly cliffs by embarking on a mountain climbing journey. As the Philippines has a lot of beautiful mountains to climb, you need not travel far just to realize that dream. More often than not, you would not even need to book an airline ticket just to indulge your fancy. One good tip before going on this adventure though is to make sure to take a lot of photos when you get there. The spectacular views are breathtaking and one-of-a-kind. Plus, they will definitely make for an interesting addition in your Instagram feed.

Mud Karting

You might want to skip this outdoor activity if you do not wish to get any dirt on your clothes. However, if you are not opposed to getting a little dirty then mud karting is an outdoor activity you might want to try. Indulge the adrenaline junkie in you and ride a dune buggy through an obstacle course full of mud. Just be sure to bring extra clothes though, as no one ever gets out of this activity with their clothes spotlessly clean. Expect to get really really dirty. If you wish to give this activity a try, head on over to the Holy Child School in Santo Nino which is located just outside of Puerto Galera and on the way to White Beach.

Sand Boarding

Sand dunes are not exclusive to the Middle East as the Philippines even has a local rendition of its own. In fact, the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte would rival the ones that can be found in the Middle East. Head on over to Laoag La Paz Sand Dunes in Ilocos Norte and engage in this outdoor activity that can be ridden alone or with a companion. Just remember, while you are enjoying this activity it is imperative to keep your mouth shut (No shouting allowed!), lest any sand gets in. So, go ahead and plan that road trip. Pack your bags and bring your hippest shades and go surf on the sand.

Sky Cycling

Available in Davao, Laguna and even in Negros Occidental, Bacolod, Sky Cycling is an activity that requires you to balance your body on a wire cable while being suspended mid-air. To some, the activity might be a daunting prospect, but once you get the hang of it, you would find that it can actually be pretty enjoyable. Furthermore, the resorts offering this activity have gone through extraordinary measures to ensure that the cables are not only safe but stable. So, if you want a different take to ordinary cycling, you might as well try this activity out.

Zipline

Over the years, ziplining has taken over the country’s adventure scene by storm. In fact, it is highly likely that you and your friends have experienced it at some point in your lives (unless you have an irrational fear or aversion for heights of course). In any case, ziplining can be done not only in the Philippines but in almost every part of the world. However, what sets the Philippines apart is the wide range of choices and places where you can do this activity. Furthermore, the Philippines is known to have the longest zipline in Asia which can be found in Oriental Mindoro. It has been said that the zipline is so long that you would be zipping from one line to another.

 

Image Source

Advertisements
0

Travel EATinerary: Four Iconic Kapampangan Dishes for the Foodie in You

rg-kapampangan-boodle

“I am not a great cook, I am not a great artist, but I love art and I love food, so I am the perfect traveler.” –Michael Palin

It has been said that in order to truly get to know a foreign place, you have to eat your way through it.

As a result, so many travels now are centered on one goal: To sample and taste a foreign destination’s finest and most popular food offerings. The glamorous rise of food travels can be attributed to the almost ubiquitous presence of food in social media pages—so much so that people are willing to pay an airfare ticket just to indulge the foodie in them as well as satisfy their avid curiosity. In the Philippines, the most well-known and beloved food destination is none other than Pampanga. As a matter of fact, apart from being well-regarded as the gastronomic capital of the Philippines, the province is famed for its food crawls—one of the many things you can do in Pampanga. The unique talent and skill of the many cooks and chefs of Pampanga are from the resulting tutelage and training by the Spaniards during the colonial period. Fortunately, these cooks are not selfish with their unique prowess and have passed on their culinary expertise from generation to generation. For this reason, recipes for authentic Kapampangan dishes are still in existence and could still be tasted today. Among the Filipinos, it has been said that none can rival the Kapampangans passion for food and cooking which is why they always come up with exemplary and stellar dishes. This very passion they have for cooking is echoed in dishes such as the ubiquitous Filipino beer match, sisig as well as their cooking and preserving techniques distinct only to them.

In any case, if you have slated Pampanga to be your next food destination, here are some of the iconic and noteworthy Kapampangan dishes you should definitely try:

 

Tocino or Pindang

It has been said that the most delicious tocino comes from Pampanga. In fact, it is one of the famed products of the province and since then, it has become a Filipino breakfast staple for years. To the uninitiated, tocino is basically cured or processed pork meat that is sweet and savory at the same time. The fusion of flavors, as well as its unique tanginess, makes it the perfect pair for rice and sunny-side-up eggs. Fortunately, tocino can be found in almost every Filipino grocery store. But, you should never miss out on the chance to taste authentically prepared Kapampangan tocino that is offered only in the province which is referred to as “Pindang Damulag”—thinly sliced carabao meat cured with vinegar and seasonings.

Sisig

Of course, no list would be complete without this well-known and revered Kapampangan food item. Locally recognized as the perfect beer match, sisig is a well-loved dish that found its roots in Pampanga. Although it can be found in most Filipino restaurants, none can compare to how its creators really make it. To those who have not heard of the dish, sisig is a sizzling dish consisting of different pig parts—from the face to the liver (Filipinos are known not to waste any part of the animal, after all). A visit to Pampanga would be incomplete if you do not at least sample an authentic Kapampangan sisig.

Betute and Camaru

What is a food travel if it is not peppered with a little bit of adventure? Of course, a food travel excursion would not be complete without at least sampling one exotic dish. Apart from testing your fortitude and your drive to try new things, you might actually find that you would like it. Betute and Camaru are two dishes available only in Pampanga as the province is known to have expansive rice fields throughout the province. Inevitably, critters such as crickets and frogs would find themselves being considered as a snack at some point. While frogs are most notably attributed to being a French delicacy, Kapampangans are also known to serve this delicacy. However, they eat the frog whole by stuffing it with ground pork meat and deep frying it. Sure, eating insects and frogs might not rank so high in your list, but just think about the bragging rights it would afford you when you have successfully done it.

Buro

Buro is not for the faint of heart and definitely not for the unimaginative eater. The dish is basically fermented rice mixed with either shrimp of fish—a popular Kapampangan condiment. However, owing to its pungent smell and appearance, many individuals would rather steer clear away from it. But, if you can get past the thought of eating fermented rice, you might find that the dish is actually taste—especially when mixed with boiled vegetables or deep fried catfish.

Image Source

0

Discover Philippines: Excellent Reasons Why Pampanga Will Be the Next Big Thing in Tourism

logo-copy-450x231

 

“Tourism carries a tremendous potential that must be acknowledged as essential for the future of world heritage. But without proper management, we can easily get out of control.”-Bonnie Burnham

Pampanga, also known as the Philippines’ culinary capital and gastronomic mecca is poised to become the country’s next big thing in tourism.

Scrumptious and delectable aside, Pampanga has a lot to offer to both locals and tourists alike. It boasts of heritage and attractions you should see and also has exciting new developments which you should not miss out on. Furthermore, the province itself is teeming with hidden gems that most tourists do not know of yet so you can be assured that when you visit you can have the place all to yourself. While Pampanga is renowned for its incredibly diverse and vibrant local cuisine as well as its handicraft industry, there is more to this province than its Filipino staple food sisig. Tourists have been arriving by the droves just to see the new developments planned out in the city as well as to reinvigorate themselves with the old treasures and gems located within. As it is only a couple of hours away or so from Quezon City, why not schedule a visit and see what makes this humble province tick and stand out?

A province rich in heritage sites

Founded by the Spaniards in 1571, Bacolor was considered the colonial capital when Manila was under siege and invaded by Great Britain in 1762. A hundred years or so later, the first Philippine President, Aguinaldo situated the seat of the First Republic in Angeles back in 1899. Apart from these, Jose Rizal was also known to visit San Fernando in a train in 1892—the same train station where the Death March ended in 1942. Lastly, much of the landscapes have changed since the eruption of Pinatubo in 1991—the biggest one yet since Novarupta in 1912.

With all these considered, you can truly see that Pampanga has a wealth of history abound. Indeed, the province is teeming with centuries-old ancestral houses and structures—some of which have architectural structures that could marvel those that can be found in Europe. After all, where else can you find a functional church submerged in lahar to Betis, the Filipino rendition of the Sistine Chapel?

A variety of outdoor adventures

While Pampanga is already a progressive province on its own, being here is like being transported to another world—one without pollution and traffic while being offered the convenience and comforts of the city still. Apart from that, you can truly enjoy the countryside ambiance, fresh air, and lush, verdant greenery without needing to travel far. One of Pampanga’s main attractions is the Sandbox located in Alviera where they offer a myriad of city and countryside adventures alike to patrons. Some of its most popular attractions include the country’s first roller coaster zip line and the Philippine’s Giant Swing.

If you have the nerve for it, you can test your skills on the Aerial Walk Challenge or free fall from the 5-story Adventure Tower and more. In any case, your days would certainly not be dull should you ever plan to visit the Sandbox as an abundance of activities would await you while there.

A wealth of cultural experiences

One of the exciting things about Pampanga is that there is almost always a festival happening somewhere. One such festival of particular notice is called Aguman Sanduk in Minalin which translates to Ladle Brotherhood. It occurs every January where straight men celebrate and honor the women in their lives with a cross-dressing pageant. By the time February sets in, locals and tourists alike would prepare themselves for colorful skies during the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Festival. During the summer and by the time Easter rolls around, San Fernando draws crowds by the thousands comprising of religious devotees, curious onlookers as well as fans of the macabre yearly religious tradition.

Apart from these, there is a myriad more to experience in Pampanga where you would get a sliver of its cultural experience. From food to religious practices, almost everything is celebrated in this province.

Image Source

0

Discovering Pampanga: Six Homegrown Kapangpangan Restaurants You Must Try!

32703

“Food is our common ground. A universal experience.” -James Beard

Pampanga is known to be the gastronomic and culinary capital of the Philippines. With an array of delectable homegrown restaurants and authentic Kapampangan dishes that is rivaled nowhere else in the country, you are guaranteed an incredible and epic food journey when you have the chance to visit. However, not all of their epicurean offers are the same; some are more authentic than the others and some dishes would be more delectable when they are prepared by the innovators themselves. So, if you have a weekend planned in Pampanga—whether to visit the Sandbox in Porac, Pampanga Alviera, here are some of the best homegrown restaurants with dishes you can sink your teeth into:

1.) Binulo Restaurant- Clarkfield

This restaurant got its moniker from the Aeta method of cooking food in fresh bamboo. Known as one of the only restaurants to prepare food this way, Binulo is popularly known for serving diners only the best and authentic Campangpangan cuisine. To complement their array of local dishes, US grilled steaks are also on the menu. If you have a hankering for good home-cooked food, Binulo is the best place to go. Finish your meal with their excellent dessert of Suman and Mango ice cream which doubles as an ideal snack on a hot summer day.

2.) Historic Camalig Restaurant

If you have a penchant for trying a lot of Capangpangan dishes at once, then head on over to Historic Camalig Restaurant. Established on a century old ancestral grain depot restored in 1980, Camalig is now a restaurant that serves the famous Kapangpangan Pizza. The ambiance and good food would all be worth the long trip. For those who love to indulge themselves, the restaurant offers a Kapangpangan buffet as well.

3.) Angeles Fried Chicken

Known to be the Philippines’ counterpart and rendition to United States’ friend chicken joint, AFC or Angeles Fried Chicken is the restaurant for fried chicken lovers. Known to be one of the most popular restaurants in the city, their chicken has been perfected to be succulent and juicy at the same time. The recipe has remained largely unchanged and has been passed down from generation to generation.

4.) Everybody’s Cafe

No trip to Pampanga is ever complete without stopping over and having a meal at Everybody’s cafe. As the name itself suggests, the restaurant is just about for anyone and has some of the most exotic things in their menu. Unlike your typical cafeteria, you can find things such as betute (stuffed frogs) and camaru (crickets) on the menu which is perfect for those who are looking for a bit of a culinary dining adventure. Known to be one of the longest running restaurants in the city, this cafeteria has a lot of local dishes visitors should sample—from the Damulag (cured carabao meat) to the crispy duck adobo.

5.) Rainforest Kichene

If you are looking for a restaurant with a bit of an ambiance, head over to Rainforest Kichene in San Fernando. Owned by Chef Vince Garcia, the restaurant presents a subtle charm of forest-inspired ambiance that makes it not only inviting to eat but hang out as well. Largely inspired by a healthy and green eating lifestyle, some of the items on the menu are perfect for fitness buffs and sports enthusiasts looking to eat healthier.

6.) Susie’s Cuisine

Of course, a trip to the culinary capital deserves a souvenir and a treat which you can bring back home to share with your friends and family. If you are on the search for delectable kakanins and different Kapangpangan dishes which you can later feast on or give to family and friends, then visit Susie’s Cuisine. Although the restaurant is popularly known for its pancit lug lug, it has become the go-to place for people looking for something to bring home to their families.

Image Source

0

The Top Five Restaurants You Should Try in Circuit Makati

980-x-450-cm-entrance

“A restaurant is a fantasy—a kind of living fantasy in which diners are the most important members of the cast.” -Warner LeRoy

 

Circuit Makati may be quite new to the entertainment development scene, but since its inception, it has already been making waves. This 21-hectare property used to be the former Sta. Ana Racetrack property of the Philippine Racing Club Inc. and is now a mixed-use development land. Today, Circuit Makati is known to be one of the famous and most happening entertainment districts in the metropolis. It is poised as the unequivocal destination for all things entertainment. It features multipurpose entertainment spaces, open grounds, and an indoor theater. Indeed, even if Circuit Makati has not been around for quite too long, it has already made an impression on locals and has cemented its claim to fame by being the go-to venue for fun and entertainment.

Among the myriad of activities, you can do in Circuit Makati are attending hot music festivals and skateboarding in the skateboard park, doing sports related activities on the football pitch or go for a go-kart ride. With the array of things you can do in the entertainment hub, it would be no question for it to come armed with its own arsenal of excellent restaurants. If you ever have the chance to visit Circuit Makati, here are some of the best restaurants you should try:

1.) Palm Corned Beef Corner

What could possibly be better than corned beef for breakfast? Well, corned beef for lunch and dinner as well! It is a well-known fact that corned beef is one of the breakfast staples in a Filipino home. In fact, it is the favorite breakfast food of many—a fact which Palm Corned Beef decided to capitalize on. Considering that it is one of the leading corned beef brands in the country, Palm Corned Beef decided open their own restaurant which can be found in Circuit Makati. Apart from the New Zealand corned beef, you can enjoy a lot of food items from their menu.

2.) Mudpie Heaven

Dessert connoisseurs will rejoice—particularly those who are incredibly fond of chocolates. Mudpie Heaven is the physical manifestation of an ode to the thirty-year-old recipes of the owner’s (Ashley Cayuca) mom. Of course, this place serves more than just desserts. Known for their extensive menu of reinvented Filipino-American comfort food, this restaurant is a must try for food enthusiasts with an insatiable palate for food fusions. If you get the chance to visit, remember to make room for their rich desserts as their signature Mud Pie ice cream cakes are a definite must-try!

3.) OnBoard Game + Gastro Pub

This restaurant, as the name suggests, is a fusion of a board game center and a pub. This straightforward concept promises a full-service kitchen that would serve craft beers, comfort food, and specialty cocktails among others. Patrons can play a wide array of board game titles that would suit all ages and preferences while waiting for their food. A pretty nifty concept so as to keep your diners entertained while their food cooks.

4.) Backyard Kitchen + Brew

If comfort food is your thing, then you might want to try a contemporary rendition of it at Backyard Kitchen + Brew. Owned by Chef Edward Bugia of Pino, this far-to-table bar and grill concept serves modern comfort food with a little twist. Of course, indulgent drinkers with a unique taste for liquor are not left behind either as they serve a wide selection of craft beers and beverages.

5.) Outre Manila

Ice cream and dessert enthusiasts have something to rejoice about—especially since hand-crafted liquid nitrogen is now readily available in Circuit Makati. Although Outre Manila traced its roots back in BF Homes, it has now expanded to cater to a wider market and is newly opened in Circuit Makati. If you have a hankering for complicated and unusual desserts or simply just love ice cream and gelato, then this place is for you. Alternatively, those who are ravenous can get hot meals in this restaurant as well.

 

Image Source

0

Four Interesting Facts About the Philippines

Portrait of a boy with athe flag of the Philippines painted on his face

“For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

The Philippines has been long hailed as one of the most exotic Southeast Asian destinations of the world. This country whose pride resides upon their crystal clear blue waters, powdery white sand beaches, and majestic landscapes is not only a place with a myriad of picturesque vacation spots, but it is also known as a melting pot for a variety of cultures. The tropical climate of the country makes it a premier spot for diverse activities. In fact, outdoor activities in the Philippines could rival those of their western counterparts.

Philippine history would be easy, to sum up. You have the initial settlers in the archipelago with many various countries vying to subdue them and claim the country as a colony. And though the country has been embroiled in several colonizations in the past, its people have battled for independence, and as a result, they have learned to develop a sense of culture and tradition they can proudly and distinctly call their own. Indeed, there are a lot if interesting things that truly make this country beautifully unique. So if you are visiting the Philippines anytime soon, here are some facts you might want to know:

1.) The national flag can be used to symbolize war or peace.

The Philippine flag is a combination of four colors, namely: white, blue, red and yellow. Sewn by three ladies (Lorenza Agoncillo, Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, and Marcela de Agoncillo) in Hong Kong, it made its debut during the battle on May 28, 1898. What makes the flag unique is the fact that it can be meant to symbolize war or peace. In times of war, the flag is inverted to show the red stripe on top, and during times of peace, the blue stripe takes the upper part.

2.) Three of the largest malls are in the Philippines

Filipinos love to shop no doubt, and mall developers are only happy to cater to the local’s penchant. In fact, the country’s capital has a mall in almost every nook and cranny which Filipinos would love to spend time in during their downtime. For this reason, it would be no surprise that the Philippines hosts three of the world’s largest malls namely SM Megamall (third largest mall in the world), SM City North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia (fourth and tenth largest mall respectively)

3.) Super Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest wind ever recorded at landfall

In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in the central part of the Philippines which killed at least six thousand people and injured a lot more. The deadly typhoon left the country devastated, but what occurred months after was a true testament to the Filipinos resilience. Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm recorded at landfall, so much so that PAGASA decided to erase the name from the typhoon naming lists. In the same vein, the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee likewise announced that the name would be replaced with Bailu instead.

4.) Three of the largest pearls were found in the Philippines

Considering that the Philippines is rich in marine life, it would be no wonder that three of the world’s biggest pearls would be found here. The largest pearl in the world called The Pearl of Lao Tzu was discovered in Brookes Point, Palawan by a Filipino diver in the year 1934. The Palawan Princess who is considered the second largest pearl in the world was also found on Palawan island. Lastly, the Pearl of the King (which is said to be bigger than the Pearl of Lao Tzu) was discovered in the Philippine waters.

 

Image Source

0

Summer 2017: Top Getaway Destinations Near Manila

summer-destinations-1

“Looking at the beauty in the world, the first step of purifying the mind” -Amit Ray (Meditation: Insights and Inspirations)

As March enters 2017, so does the promise of a scorching summer to come. Gone are the cold and breezy days replaced by humid morning temperatures with equally hot nights. On the months ahead, we will be bidding our sweaters and long-sleeved tops goodbye and saying hello to cropped tops, bikinis, the distinct smell of the beach and our favorite pair of aviators. Indeed, as for March ushers in a new season, everyone will be welcoming in the happiest and sunniest season of the year, summer. This is the season most individuals would love to get away from the perpetual hustle and bustle of the city and experience the calm and quiet of the countryside or the vibrant life at the beach. Unfortunately, if you are operating on a tight schedule, it can be hard to negotiate a vacation in between your work commitments.

Not to fret, however, as there are a lot of destinations near Manila that would not even require an overnight trip. So, if you are planning for a summer excursion, there is no need to look far, here are the weekend getaways near Manila you can visit for a short and brief holiday:

1.) Minalungao National Park (Nueva Ecija)

Take a break from the usual crystal blue waters and enjoy something a little bit different such as the emerald green waters of Penaranda River in Minalungao National Park. As the summertime draws in, it is the perfect time to visit this place. Owing to the less rainfall of the season, the river is calmer and clearer making it safer for rafting, cliff jumping and even swimming. If trekking is more of your thing, the 16-meter limestone walls flanking the river are as equally inviting as the river is. If a quick trip is on your weekend itinerary, Minalungao is easily accessible with only a 3-hour ride from Manila, and it is friendly to your pockets as well.

2.) Taal Heritage Town

If you are looking for the feel and ambiance of Vigan without having to book a plane ticket or driving for seven hours, then all you would need to do is head to Batangas. The beautiful ancestral homes and gorgeous architecture of Tall Heritage Town in Batangas are reminiscent of Vigan and would take you back to a place you can only see in history books and black and white albums. It is easy to get charmed by the place’s hundred-year-old knickknacks and vintage pieces that you would not only get a well-deserved break but a trip back in time as well.

3.) Corregidor

History buff and enthusiasts would enjoy Corregidor as it is the perfect place for a slice of culture and history. This province in Cavite has diverse activities to offer, but its main attraction is definitely the rich and colorful history from World War II. But apart from that, Corregidor has pristine nature trails, its own beach, and wildlife. Lastly, it is not that far from Manila (only an hour away by boat). If you are looking for a bit of history with a little culture in solitude thrown into the mix, this place is perfect for you.

4.) Baler

Though it is not exactly what you would call near (driving to Baler would take you a few extra hours), it would all be a matter of perspective once you arrive and set foot and Baler where a myriad of activities awaits you. To surfers and trekking enthusiasts, this place is paradise, and for someone looking for the perfect synergy of nature, culture, history and adventure, this place is the ultimate escapade. If you are looking for an unlimited array of activities to do in such a short time, Baler should be your top pick.

Image Source